Save time and make money using credit apps


Duane Marino

Duane Marino

Credit applications are one of the most under-utilized selling tools on both the showroom floor and in the F&I office.

The use of the credit application depends on the situation as well as the demographic of the dealership and customer. Knowing how to use them in various ways both during the sale and in the business office makes it easier for the dealership as well as the customer and will sell more cars while also allowing the business office to present and sell more coverages.

As consumers, we see credit applications on websites, in airports, at mall kiosks and when we buy large ticket items such as furniture, cars or properties. As such, they are not seen as the scary things they once were and should be presented as a customer service tool.

When you complete a credit application you are giving the vendor a green light to proceed on many different levels. No one completes credit applications unless they are buying and financing, so remember the F&I office does not have any opportunities until and unless a car is sold, and credit applications can be used to close sales.

Let’s look at a few possible productive and profitable uses of the credit application in our showrooms:

– Do you have a short and simple credit app on your website? It will increase your online closing ratio with many different types of consumers.

– Do your salespeople have them on their desks? Some customers will complete a credit application before they finalize the price. A completed credit application in the showroom means someone wants to buy a car. A pad of blank credit applications on the salesperson’s desk facing the client with a pen on top is an inviting visual and sales tool that can be used in many situations.

– Do your salespeople leave a credit app with the customer to complete when they come to inform the business manager they just sold a vehicle? This keeps the sale moving forward for the customer and the dealership. It also saves time.

– Does the sales manager present an optional credit application to the customer during the negotiation of payments?

– Does the F&I manager incorporate both rapport building and product suggestions into the review or completion of the credit application? This soft interview of needs and wants can really open the doors for customized product suggestions.

– Does the F&I manager submit a fully protected transaction through their finance portal at the beginning of their turnover and before the product presentations? If not, why not?
You can use the speed of the portal to determine any credit issues, inform and relax your customer by telling them they are pre-approved for all protections, then just remove products not desired by the customer as well as speed up the turnover and delivery process.

Everyone in the showroom has to be comfortable with both the practical and psychological uses of the credit application. In my travels, I rarely come across a dealership that either fully understands or uses its subtle power.

Duane Marino’s trainers will come to you or you can come to them for live training, enrol in their online MarinoTV, use their BDC call center for sales events or buy his books on Amazon.  They can be reached by calling 1-888-735-6275 or visiting